lapsang souchong ice cream




This is the first ice cream recipe that I came up with all on my own AND it worked! I point that out because, of course, I make mistakes in the kitchen. I feel like I've always got a back-up dinner in mind (scrambled eggs and bacon) or even a GF boxed cake mix just in case... Whenever you're cooking, you have to remember that it's ok to fail, that's how you learn. And, what's that famous Julia Child quote say? Something about how no one can see the mistakes you make in the kitchen... "Always remember: If you're alone in the kitchen and you drop the lamb, you can always just pick it up. Who's going to know?"

Actually, as I was looking up that famous Julia quote, I found an even better one that I just have to share-- 

The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you’ve got to have a what-the-hell attitude
— Julia Child

So, my "what-the-hell attitude" led me to think that a smoky creamy ice cream would be A-MAZ-ING. And, this time, I was right. I think the key to this recipe is to get some good Lapsang Souchong tea leaves. We had this amazing tea shop in our old neighborhood in Brooklyn (of course, there's a great tea shop in Brooklyn- queue the eye roll) that had a double-smoked,  extra smoky Lapsang Souchong. I wish I could have used those leaves. Alas, I settled for the decent tea section at our local Fairway and got some ok Lapsang Souchong. 

The base for this recipe is adapted from Jeni's base which I really like because it is egg-free. If you like Green Tea Ice Cream, you will probably really like this ice cream. And, if you like Thai Iced Tea or Thai Iced Coffee, I think you'll like the ice cream, too. Try it and let me know what you think! After all, it's Spring... that means it's almost Summer... which means it is really like practically full-on Ice Cream Season.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 Tbsp plus 1 tsp tapioca starch (or corn starch)
  • 1.5 oz (or 3 Tbsps) softened cream cheese
  • 1-1/4 cups heavy cream
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsps cane syrup (or light corn syrup)
  • 3/4 cup smoky Lapsang Souchong tea leaves

Bring the milk (reserving 2 Tbsps for a tapioca starch paste), heavy cream, sugar and cane syrup to a boil over medium-hgh heat. Let the mixture combine and boil for about 4 minutes. Remove your pot from the heat and stir in the tea leaves, leaving them to steep for a good 20-30 minutes.

While your tea leaves steep, mix those reserved 2 Tbsps of milk with the tapioca starch in a small bowl. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk your cream cheese until it is fairly smooth. Finally, because you probably still have a little time left on your steep, prepare your ice-water bath to chill your ice cream mixture up nice and good. Fill a big bowl or pot with ice water and grab yourself a gallon-sized Ziploc bag. 

After about 20-30 minutes-- depending on how strong you want your tea flavor to be-- give the milky tea mixture a taste. Taste smoky? Sweet? Creamy? Yum! Now, it's time to strain the leaves out because we're not a 7-year old kid who likes to pick objects out of our ice cream (remember bubble gum ice cream???). You'll need a very fine mesh sieve. If you have a chinois, it will work perfectly. Remembering to put another pot under your sieve to collect all the tea leaf-free sweetness, pour your warm tea mixture into the sieve. Grab a wooden spoon and press the tea leaves as they are being strained.... get every last bit of tastiness into your ice cream base. 

Once the ice cream is fully-strained, return the milky base to the stovetop. Over medium-high heat, whisk in your tapioca starch paste and then stir with a rubber spatula until it seems to be thickening, about 1 minute.

Pour this thickened base into your bowl of whisked cream cheese and mix it together until smooth. Once it is thoroughly combined, pour all of this into your Ziploc bag and place it in the ice bath to chill for approximately 30 minutes. 

After 30 minutes, pull your ice cream mixture out of the ice bath and add it to your ice cream maker and mix until it is the consistency of a thick soft-serv, 30 minutes or so. Pack the ice cream (snitching a spoonful or two, of course!) into your Tupperware tub or fancy ice cream container, covering it up with a sheet of parchment paper before sealing it closed and resting it in your freezer for at least 4 hours.

One crazy thing did happen to my ice cream while sitting in the ice bath, and I want to share it with you in case you experience it, too. As I poured the ice cream into my ice cream maker, I noticed that it had become sort of gelatinous, almost pudding-like. I've never had this happen to any of my other bases.... so I'm not entirely sure why it did happen. Does it have to do with the tannins in the tea? Was my ice bath especially cold? Do you know? I don't know. But, rest assured, if it happens to you... it's no big deal. The ice cream maker's churning completely smoothed it all out and it was the creamiest of creamy delights. 

So, success. My "what-the-hell" attitude paid off. What has your "what-the-hell" attitude done for you lately in the kitchen? Let me know. I can't wait to learn some new tricks.